Bindi Irwin Follows in Crocodile Hunter Dad's Footsteps, Adding Some Fancy Footwork of Her Own

From Jumping Crocs and Hugging Koalas to Dancing with the Stars!

Even though it has been eight years since the death of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, it is easy to remember his wide grin, his passion for animals, and (of course) the classic "Crikey!"  He became a household name, the face of animal education for kids and adults alike, and his passing was a loss felt around the world.

Not only a die-hard animal expert, he was also a die-hard family man, a fact made evident on his television show by the regular presence of  his wife and their daughter Bindi.

The adoration Irwin had for his little girl was beautifully obvious.

Now 17 years old, Bindi is following enthusiastically in her father's footsteps, carrying on his torch of love and passion for the wild things that share our world. 

Wrapping up her final year of school, she is unsurprisingly preparing for full time work at the Australia Zoo.

As she reminisces about her non-traditional childhood, she says, 

It took me until I was about three years old to realize that we didn’t just come to the zoo every day, that we actually lived here.

And about her father:

I remember he gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me forever... If you treat animals how you want to be treated, you’re a lot better off.

She asserts that it is a matter of respect for the creatures she works with, stating,

When [Irwin] was working with venomous snakes or cheetahs, he just treated them in a [certain] way. He was never trying to overpower them or anything like that. He was just loving them... Telling people how to respect snakes and respect crocodiles and to love them. And he was teaching other people about how beautiful they are. And I think if you go about it with that kind of attitude, it’s brilliant.

She began appearing on The Crocodile Hunter at a tender two years of age, and at seven she was already starring in her own show called Bindi, the Jungle Girl.  It is clear she has a flair for not only the wildlife alone, but for educating others about it. And in an interesting turn, Bindi is taking her dad's legacy to a wider audience this fall. She is competing in Dancing with the Stars and is already poised as one of the show favorites among voters.

Bindi sees this star turn as a way to put the values her dad (who loved to rock out to AC/DC) into practice:

At home at Australia Zoo with our conservation work, it’s all about teamwork,” the younger Irwin told ET. “You have to have that passion and dedication in your soul, and you have to let that out to be able to do a great job. I feel like it’s similar here. We’re working as a team. We’re trying to achieve greatness together.

Scroll down to the bottom to catch Bindi in an recent interview about her latest chapter!

Her plans for the future?  To become a professional zookeeper.  

Are we surprised?  Not at all.

Bindi's entire life has been preparing her for her chosen career, and it is wonderful to see how she has blossomed into such a strong next-generation animal activist.  And while no one knows better than she does that working with animals can be a dangerous business... remains pretty clear that the fun and fulfillment is more than worth it.


Text by Justin Haley Philips